Evaluating an Introductory Speech

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Introducing Yourself to an Audience: A Basic Evaluation

Common Speaking Problems

  • High levels of nervousness (offer reassurance that they can do this and that it will get easier as they learn more). If their big problem is rushing, they need to know that.
  • Physical speaking challenges (physical issues that affect articulation, heavy accents). Best advice: encourage them to slow down especially at first so that they give the audience time to adjust to the accent. Do feel free to compliment their strengths - Everyone has some.
  • Filled pauses – ums and uhs and likes etc. Let them know that they are doing it; again assure them that it will get better as they work on more prepared presentations.
  • Disabling nonverbals – won’t look at audience, repetitious meaningless gestures, covering their mouth, etc. Calm them and offer a suggestion about what to do with their energy. You might, for example say it is fine to take a step or two; let them know that having a visual aid for the next speech will be helpful to them.
  • Poor time management (speaking much longer or shorter than expected).

Evaluation Checklist for the Introductory Speech

Using a checkmark, plus and minus system allows the evaluator to make the following evaluations quickly. Although written comments would give students more information, immediate feedback works well for an early assessment and might be expanded by oral comments.

(A checkmark means yes)

____ Did the speaker have an introduction? ____Body? ____Conclusion?
____ Did the speaker express ideas in an orderly way?
____ Did the speaker maintain audience attention with content? _____ Delivery?
____ Did the speaker have good eye contact with the audience?
____ Did the speaker avoid filling pauses with words such as “like,” “you know,” “um,” “uh,” or “and”?
____ Did the speaker use vocal variation?
____ Did the speaker use hands effectively?
____ Did the speaker use good posture and have a confident stance?
____ Did the speaker have facial animation?
____ Was the flow of words smooth and uninterrupted?
____ Did the speaker put the audience at ease?

Submitted by Amy R. Slagell, Director of the Fundamentals of Public Speaking Program, Iowa State University

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